Food, Vancouver

Hidden Tasting Bar and Social Lounge

Once again, another great night and dinner at Hidden Tasting Lounge – This time it was for my 23rd Birthday! They even gave me a complimentary glass of champagne! Great service and a comfortable and unpretentious atmosphere for a hotel lobby/restaurant. I used to love their Brie grilled cheese sandwiches but I’m so sad that they had to change the bread from toasted white bread to toasted Rye bread…

What I ordered:

  • Scallop Mac n’ Cheese 4.5/5

Creamy Mac n cheese with a side of seared scallops.

  • Hidden Burger 4/5

The meat was juicy and not over cooked.

  • Lava cake 5/5

The cake had a brownie texture which added to the richness of the lava chocolate spilling out.

What my friend’s ordered:

  • Lobster poutine
  • Curry and Nan
  • Creme Brulee
  • Chocolate Trio

Service 4/5: Great service, friendly staff. The only thing was that we had a group of 10 people and we had to wait 45-50 minutes for our food to come because they brought all our food out at the same time.

Ambiance 5/5: Comfortable and unpretentious.

 

Hidden Tasting Bar and Social Lounge on Urbanspoon

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Food, Vancouver

Rodney’s Oyster House

I always have a fun time eating at Rodneys. What’s not to love? Fresh oysters, rowdy and obnoxious but charming male waiters and a seafood menu to die for. Their oysters are pricy but you wouldn’t expect any less in Yaletown. That’s why I love going between 3-5pm for their “low tide” Happy Hour menu ($1.25 oysters and other deals). I always bring out-of-towners here who want to try some good West Coast sea food. Continue reading

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Food, Japanese food, Vancouver

Toshi Sushi

Toshi has been famous for their quality sushi and competitive prices for as long as I can remember. And for as long as I can remember, it’s always been small, crowded and not the most comfortable. That is why you should always expect a line up and if you’re desperate enough, to share a table with strangers. I have definitely shared a table with complete strangers just so I could satisfy my nigiri sushi cravings and paying a fraction of the price I would spend at other famous sushi bars like Ajisai (Kerrisdale) or Sushi Hachi (Richmond, BC).

I have high expectations for my nigiri sushis because I’ve had so much sushi in Vancouver the good ones definitely stand out. There are 4 things that I look for in a nigiri sushi:

  1. Freshness of sashimi - the fish has to taste sweet and fresh, not old and stale.
  2. Ratio of fish to rice – there should be more fish than rice but not too much fish that you can’t eat it in one bite. I hate when there is too much rice in sushi!
  3. Is there a small bit of wasabi under the fish? – This is the way you’re supposed to have nigiri sushi, not with soya sauce but with a bit of wasabi underneath the fish so you can still taste the flavours of the fish.
  4. If there is seaweed, is it soft and moist or fresh and crisp

What I ordered:

Chef’s daily selection of nigiri sushis (10 piece) 5/5

  • ~$12.50
  • This special consists of the freshest fish and seafood of the day. I absolutely love the squid nigiri because the shiso leaf and the lemon juice perfectly compliments each other and I usually don’t like having a full piece of squid sashimi! Also, I always order this one for myself because I get to have a bit of everything on the menu for $12.50!

Box pressed sushi 3.5/5

  • I heard this “box pressed sushi” was an original creation by the chef because a food blogger had asked him to create something from scratch and this was the product: Pressed sushi with scallop, salmon, thin slice of lemon and avocado in the middle. It tasted refreshing but I thought the texture of the salmon and the scallop was too soft and a little mushy. Also, I think it would taste better with less rice as the ratio is a little off. But that’s just my preference.

Egg plant grilled with sweet miso 4/5

  • If you’re a fan of egg plant then you will love this dish. It’s simple and deliciously sweet after grilling the egg plant with miso it tastes somewhat caramelized. You just spoon out the mushy guts and leave the skin.

Uni Sushi 4/5

  • The uni was Fresh, the seaweed wasn’t stale. The reason I didn’t give it 5/5 was because I’ve had sweeter and better tasting uni. But none-the-less, it was pretty good!

Shrimp Suno Muno (Cold rice noodle in vinegar dressing) 5/5

  • Their Suno Muno is excellent! The noodles are perfect texture (not hard and stale), the cucumbers are freshly cut and the shrimps are fresh tasting and marinated in lemon.

Service 3/5

  • It’s so busy that I appreciate the efficiency and attentiveness to refill my tea. But you don’t walk into this place thinking that you’re going to receive great service but the servers are none the less polite and the service is quick.

Consistency of food standards 3/5

  • I’ve been here several times and I have to save it’s not the same level of standards every time. However it is understandable because you get what you pay.

Verdict: Have been there several times and will definitely go back.
Toshi Sushi on Urbanspoon

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Food, Vancouver

Acme Cafe

Located  along the boarder of West and East hastings (between Gastown and China town), Acme Cafe is an American style diner that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The restaurant is very casual with booths, counters and bar stool seating. It looks like a place you would bring a foreign friend visiting America for the first time. Think a more neutral-coloured Dennys.

I liked the food but I thought the prices were a little high. For lunch, I ordered the shrimp melt and shared a side and paid $18.00 (tax & tip included).

What I ordered:

Shrimp Melt 5/5

  • Shrimps, roasted peppers, and onions open faced and topped with Jack cheese. The ciabatta was soft and went perfectly with the melted cheese and the soft texture of the shrimps. If you like grilled cheese sandwiches, you would like this. All of their sandwiches come with a side of chips, coleslaw and a pickle.

Mac n cheese on the side 3/5

  • The cheese wasn’t as thick and creamy as I would have liked. The texture is more soft than chewy and stringy.

Service 3/5

  • Servers were polite but not especially attentive. It took me a while to get their attention so I could ask for the bill.

Verdict: I would go back but on occasion to try their sandwiches. If you’re looking for a casual place and a simple menu, this is the place to go.
Acme Cafe on Urbanspoon

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Meatball
Food, Vancouver

Meat & Bread

Located in the hipster part of town (aka. Gastown), Meat & Bread simply serves freshly cut meat sandwiches and sides. They might as well have called it Breat or Mread or Meatwich.

Meat & Bread gives you the efficiency of a cafeteria but the food standards of a bistro. Once you walk in, you make your order and line up to pay while your order is handed to you on a wooden meat board.

Their menu consists of the Procetta and Meatball sandwich along with a special feature each day (as well as soup, salad and Bacon maple syrup ice cream sandwich).

What I ordered:

Porcetta 3/5

  • Even though the Procetta is a favourite among many, I found it to be too dry because the bread itself is quite hard. I would have loved the porcetta by itself because it was moist and had a crispy skin but still not the best combination with the bread.

Meatball 4/5

  • There are about 3 giant meatballs drenched in Grana Padano and Sambal sauce. The meatballs are juicy and the sauce is amazing but I found it to be a little too salty and too heavy for lunch. I would suggest sharing this one.

Beef & veggie special 4/5

  • This was my favourite out of the three. The braised beef was perfect texture and the veggies and sweetness of the sauce gave it that extra something that was missing in the porchetta and meatball. I didn’t give this 5/5 because I still think the bread could be a little softer but that’s just my preference.

Service 3/5

  • This is a self-service joint so you shouldn’t expect people to be pouring you water or bringing drinks to your table. However, the people there are usually friendly.

Consistency of food standards 5/5

Verdict: If you want a fresh sandwich and quick service, this is the place to go. I will definitely be going back to try more of their daily specials.
Meat & Bread on Urbanspoon

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Food, Vancouver

Bishops

I finally found the occasion to have dinner at Bishops. After hearing so many compliments on their organic menu prepared seasonally with local ingredients, my hopes were high. I was also told that their service is world class and that the chef would make his rounds and even chat with the customers.

Everything from the linens, cutlery to the ambiance was simple, casual and unpretentious. Their walls were decorated with local canadian artwork. I had the pleasure of sitting under one of these artworks: A native mask with blonde hair that was long enough to touch my table. Continue reading

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